Smoking Rates in Maryland Compared to the Other States - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Smoking Rates in Maryland Compared to the Other States

Like the rest of the country and much of the world, Maryland continues to see decreasing rates of smoking among its population. With that said, the Old Line State still has a ways to go before it can rename itself the Smoke-Free State.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 13.8% of adults living in Maryland identifies as a regular smoker. This is on the lower-end of smoking rates among all 50 states. In fact, Maryland ranks eighth on the list of states with the least number of adult smokers.

The relatively low rate of smoking in the state of Maryland can be owed to a number of factors. One of the biggest has been the ban on smoking in most public places and indoor areas. Another factor influencing the drop in smoking rates has been the rise of vaping as an alternative. Marylanders can easily purchase vape products at as well as their neighborhood vape shop, making it easy for them to make the switch. These factors have played a major role in the national trend towards less smoking.

Another reason Marylanders are increasingly giving up smoking is the increasing cost. According to the website of the Maryland Attorney General, a non-smoker stands to save nearly $12,000 after not smoking for five years. Smoking also raises your premium payments for health and life insurance policies.

The biggest influence on smoking rates in Maryland has undoubtedly been the public health push to convince people to give up the habit. The aforementioned page from the Office of the Attorney General is just one instance of the state’s efforts to combat the smoking epidemic. Combined with the federal push to outlaw most forms of tobacco product advertising and enforce mandatory warning labels, the fight against smoking has been an example of local, state, and national governments working together successfully.

While an overall victory, the fight against smoking in Maryland is plagued by a somewhat high rate of teen smoking compared to other states. While nowhere near the top of the list, Maryland ranks in the middle in terms of the number of teens who smoke, with over eight percent of teenagers in the state identifying as smokers.

The reasons teens choose to smoke are no different than they were 10, 20, or even 50 years ago. Peer pressure, a desire to rebel, and glamorization in the media. This is the same in Maryland as it is in other states. Parents, teachers, and other authority figures continue to find new ways to encourage younger folks to avoid developing an addiction to nicotine, which could follow them for the rest of their lives.

Despite what appears to be an alarming trend in the number of young people who smoke, this figure is still vastly lower than it was in the past. We’ve come a long way from the era when 45% of the U.S. population smoked. In the years ahead, it’s safe to say these rates will continue to plummet. Who knows, maybe Maryland really will become a smoke-free state someday?

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